How can a feasibility study ease your pain?
There is an old Yiddish expression that says, “Man Plans, and God Laughs”. Essentially, the point of this expression is simply, things will never go entirely as expected, so chill out a bit. Generally, this proves to be true - particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. How many of us were ready to take that on?
But the thing is, while we didn’t know what to expect, good planning for the unknown allowed governments, businesses, supply chains and essential services to react and manage. Granted, not every manœuvre was seamless. At all. While many people and businesses have been severely impacted, others did not. By having a solid disaster recovery plan in place, many businesses were able to shift, adjust, and adapt to stay afloat.
A feasibility study is the smartest proactive move a company can make before undergoing a major investment into what seems like a good plan. Oftentimes it is believed equipment should behave a certain way, but we have learned that believing will only get one so far. Just because something should, does not mean it will. Or can.
Designing the right test plan for a new or updated product is essential to product success. A feasibility study is the window to what results can be achieved and should be expected. Another way to look at it is the ultimate disaster recovery plan.
The way it works is asking the tough questions upfront. The key is knowing what to ask. Unfortunately, this changes from product to product and system to system so there is no checklist to follow. The secret sauce to a strong feasibility study has a few key ingredients:
Understanding the Product
What does this product need to achieve and what is expected of it once it is out in the field? What will it be used for and who will be using it? It is important to have an overview of the expected environmental influences including temperature and humidity. Will this product undergo a beating like a car door? What is the product’s life expectancy? How will a defect affect performance and longevity? By digging into the nuts and bolts, it clarifies what needs to be tested, inspected, and manipulated.
Understanding how to Test
With a full overview of how the product will be used, this information can be transformed into a road map to test efficiently. Depending on all the influences above (and many many more) a test system or platform can be envisioned to properly support the product. Should test be automated or manual? Can manual testing satisfy the requirements? Will this be an inline or standalone solution? How compact does it need to be to accommodate the manufacturing floor? Under what conditions can the system still reliably operate? How can power consumption be optimized ? There are so many ways to go.
This is the key to a feasibility study and where future pain can be avoided. Best practice is to combine a feasibility study with a spec phase. Instead of going into test design with the idea of what results should be produced, use a feasibility study to understand what results can truly be achieved. By having this knowledge ahead of time and designing station specs around what is truly achievable this will save countless engineering time & money. A feasibility study may also reveal that moving forward with an original plan is in fact a bad idea! Imagine putting months of effort into an idea that simply can't be done...that time is gone. By starting with attainable goals, the project is already ahead.
Feasibility studies can be applied to any quality project including automation, machine vision & inspection, measurement, mechanics & robotics and so on. The end result is always clarification on the right way to move forward with a complete cost-benefit analysis of the endeavor. No one would buy shoes without trying them on, so why invest in a long-term manufacturing process without knowing if it fits?
To find out more about feasibility studies and how to apply one to your current test project, please contact Averna.
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By hiring Averna to perform a feasibility study, an innovative vision solution was developed to solve one customer’s major inspection challenges. Read this case study to see the results!